As many as 152,902 foreign nationals have a residence permit in Slovakia, according to the official statistics. This accounts for about 2.8 percent of the country’s population.
In addition, altogether 69,172 foreigners were working in Slovakia in October 2021, the statistics of the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (ÚPSVaR) show. Of them, 39,000 came from non-EU countries.
These foreigners fill gaps in Slovakia’s labour market, said Zuzana Vatráľová, head of the Bratislava office of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) on the occasion of International Migrants Day, which falls on December 18.
Recruitment of non-EU citizens demanding
Most of them worked as machine operators and machine fitters.
“Furthermore, about one in three foreigners living in Slovakia is doing business here and creates potential jobs,” Vatráľová said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Expenses for the education and skills of foreigners are not always financed by Slovakia.
“Recruiting a person from outside the EU is often administratively demanding, which is why employers look for foreign employees only after a person from Slovakia can’t fill the position,” Vatráľová said, as quoted by TASR.
A fiscal analysis from 2018 found that foreigners contributed more to the state budget than they took from it, according to IOM.
Pandemic brought problems
Restrictions related to the pandemic had a negative impact on mobility. The number of immigrants decreased by about two million in 2020, IOM suggests. On the contrary, the number of victims (either migrants who died or disappeared) around the world reached 4,500 as of December 10, 2021, up by 300 compared to 2020.
“More people on their journey became victims of human trafficking, faced stigmatisation, inequality, xenophobia, and racism, while female immigrants faced an increased risk of sexual assault,” Vatráľová said, as quoted by TASR. She added this is why it is necessary that legal paths for migration that respect national sovereignty and human rights are made.